Celebrating Lebanon and Its Culture: Lebanese Dabke and Karaoke Night
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Oct. 13, 2022) In celebration of Lebanese culture, traditions, and music, the Lebanese Club hosted an event that welcomed the entire GU-Q community to a night of fun activities and great performances from both students and faculty members alike. The event was held in Oxygen Park, decorated with strings of flashing fairy lights and a stage that donned the Lebanese flag and mini cedar trees. Meanwhile, situated throughout the place were a handful of booths that students and faculty could visit to appreciate and immerse themselves in the culture. Among these booths was: the picture booth, where everyone could take photographs with their friends wearing traditional headdresses such as the Tantour and the Tarboosh or Fez; the henna booth; and the beautifully crafted heritage and artifacts table. The latter showed various paintings and artworks by Lebanese artists— namely those that represented the cedar tree and Lebanese art. There was also a wonderful painting depicting a group of men performing the traditional Dabke dance, which was donated by Prof. Jeremy Koons for the event.
Along with these paintings were the traditional carpentry or wooden boards— cedar wood with the names of different cities in Lebanon— as well as the tawleh, the traditional wooden board game. In addition to these art pieces, there was also a display of glass and ceramic vases which are traditionally used to serve water for guests, traditional Arabic qahwa cups, and a traditional bread basket. Meanwhile, behind these artifacts and miniatures was a board displaying Gibran Khalil Gibran’s quotes and letters. As such, the heritage and artifacts table not only showcased cultural but also historical pieces, and together they told fragments of the stories of the country.
However, the heritage and artifacts table was not the only one that shared stories of Lebanon. The program and first performances of the night, as introduced by Salma Darwiche '25, were shared with us by faculty members— each one of them detailing their personal stories and experiences within Lebanon and what the country means to them. These included stellar performances from Prof. Jeremy Koons, Prof. Danyel Reiche, and Dean Rodoldph Boughaba of GU-Q's Executive Education. In addition to these wonderful, heartwarming stories and entertaining anecdotes, there was also a presentation by Fatima Hamady, one of GU-Q's Economics Specialists and Teaching Assistants, about life in Lebanon— the different seasons, the delicious food, and on the country's pop culture icons. Concluding the night's performances was a presentation by Prof. Firat Oruc on the parallels between Lebanese and Turkish culture. As the performances went on, Anna Cequeña '25, shared that they thought the speeches from people of the culture, those that detailed personal experiences and stories were unlike any other program they had attended during the many cultural celebrations held in GU-Q.
Although the end of the performances hardly meant that the celebration was over. The night continued with a thought-provoking poetry recital by Darwiche of a selection of poems by Nadia Tueni in English and another one in Arabic by Nizar Qabbani entitled “Beirut Sitt El Dounia”. Though, the event would not be complete without a Dabke performance from the Al Kofia team with famous guest performer Tamer Akil— during which, students and faculty clapped and cheered along with the music and performance. As the event came to an end, students and faculty once again came together and took to the stage; where they sang songs that ranged from traditional to contemporary, like those by Fayrouz and Wael Kfoury. The said karaoke session was led by Fatema Hubail, one of the GU-Q Teaching Assistants, Zain Fanik '25, Zain Assaf '23, and Mirna Yamut '24.
Indeed, the night was one that truly highlighted Lebanese culture and brought the GU-Q community together in a fun and enriching event— one that recognized inclusivity in diversity and welcomed people from different walks of life. From the stories and performances to the dances, music, and pieces of tradition and history, this memorable occasion undoubtedly invited the whole community into a piece of Lebanon and left attendees with a strong sense of appreciation for its culture.